This post was updated in February 2021 to reflect current trends in the coaching industry.
Coaching may be a profession that’s rising in prominence, but that doesn’t mean every new coach will automatically grow their practice into a successful full time business. If you want to build a robust client base, it’s time to get clear about who you're here to serve!
As a coach, you probably have the skills and background to specialize in many different areas. So why niche? Because when we try to serve everyone, we often end up helping nobody in particular. It’s truly one of the biggest mistakes a new coach can make.
Want to book more clients?
Narrow in on a clear specialty, and focus the majority of your content and advertising around that. Keep it simple. Whether you're into empowerment coaching, or are most skilled at assisting others to find clarity, tell them exactly what problems you can help them solve. Specificity will get you better results than casting a wide net, guaranteed.
We’re not saying you have to pick just one niche and stick with it forever! But you need to start somewhere.
Connecting your personal story to a coaching niche is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Uncover which specialties best align with your interests and expertise.
- Find the link between your own life and your desired area of focus.
- Inject effective storytelling into your coaching practice.
Let’s take a look at just five of the coaching industry's hottest practice areas. Discover how weaving your story into the mix can be used to connect with prospective clients and make an even bigger impact.
Growing: Clarity Coaching
Even the brightest minds get bogged down by confusion and overwhelm. If you’ve ever been caught in the grip of analysis paralysis, you know what a quagmire it can be. Sometimes we need an outside perspective to help navigate the bog of uncertainty. This is where clarity coaching comes into play. If you’re a strategic thinker with ample empathy, this may just be your beat.
Uncertain where to start? Begin with life coach training - it’s where you’ll learn practical techniques for helping people define where they are now, and where they’d like to be. Unlike clients who hire a coach to achieve a particular goal, the objective in clarity coaching is to figure out what the client truly wants first. From there, you’ll deploy classic coaching techniques to help them move toward achieving it.
Why story matters in clarity coaching
Clients who are grappling with overwhelm are vulnerable. This is why it is particularly important for you to establish a strong relationship of mutual trust. To do this, you must credibly demonstrate that you understand where they are at. Your personal backstory should include times when you’ve been caught in the fog of uncertainty, and mapped your way out successfully.
As a clarity coach, you’ll be asked to assist clients in every arena - life, business, relationships, self-development... you name it. You don’t need a story for every occasion, but you should be able to relate to the experience of getting stuck, not knowing which way to go, and reclaiming a vision for the future, and taking the action steps necessary to achieve it.
Growing: Women's Empowerment Coaching
Study after study confirms that women continue to earn less than their male counterparts, while also shouldering more responsibilities on the home front. In a culture that breezily tells women they can “do it all”, many are now experiencing cognitive dissonance. Overextended and exhausted, high achieving women are increasingly turning to coaching as a means to rectify this imbalance and restore inner equilibrium.
As an empowerment coach, your aim is to support clients in identifying and overcoming the gap in their own lives. What’s disempowering them at work, at home, and in their own thoughts?
The goal of coaching for empowerment is to help the client more effectively navigate these internal and external landscapes. Your job as coach is to help clients recognize their inherent strengths, and develop the mindset and toolkit to achieve and sustain a sense of personal power, agency, and joy in their lives.
Why story matters in empowerment coaching
Empowerment is all about owning your story - the good, the bad, and yes… even the ugly bits. All of it. It’s about being aware of everything you've been through, and how it shapes who you are today. Your story is your greatest source of power. If you don’t embrace yours, how can you genuinely model self regard for your clients?
To work in the area of women’s empowerment, you’ll want to have stories from your own life and career that demonstrate certain experiences. Illustrate the ways in which you’ve compassionately squared off with your own inner critic. Share personal examples of how to successfully set healthy boundaries, both professionally and personally. Speak to your own balancing act between professional, personal, and family responsibilities. Show how you manage to weave in self care and joy.
Growing: Wellness Coaching
There’s a growing emphasis across the health industry on developing integrated, holistic approaches to improving our health and well-being. With so much information available online, it can be difficult to determine which exercise regime, food plan, and self-care strategies are optimal for an individual situation. Wading through it all can easily turn into an overwhelming mess!
Enter the Wellness Coach.
Often coaches in this niche have training and expertise in one or more health related fields. One popular example is nutritionists. Many add coaching into their practice because they know they can create a more meaningful impact if they dig deeper with their clients around mindset and core beliefs. As a wellness coach, you’ll be collaborating with clients to reprogram their habits and make healthier choices. This goes well beyond the traditional focus on calorie count and meal plans. The work involves really knowing your client’s preferences, lifestyle, and roadblocks to develop custom-fit strategies that can be maintained for the long term.
Why story matters in wellness coaching
In the field of wellness coaching, many practitioners focus on tips and techniques for maintaining a well-balanced life. You can also get some of this information from your doctor, personal trainer, or nutritionist. With so many resources available, why hire a coach? To put all the pieces together into a coherent strategy!
Wellness clients are often overwhelmed by too much information. They need to know you’ve been there, and that the change they want to make is doable. This is where the “before and after” success stories are particularly effective. Were you once where they are now? Struggling with a health challenge, where nothing you tried was getting you the results you wanted? What did you do? What changed? What systems, tools, and techniques did you learn along the way that can make the process easier for your clients than it was for you? Use your story to show them both the problem as well as the solution.
Growing: Business Coaching
Business coaching is a classic that will never go out of style! As the form of coaching that most people are familiar with, this niche comes with credibility already baked in. Many entrepreneurs and managers get their start because they possess a particular skill, but can they lead? As responsibilities increase, many professionals choose to hire a coach to help level-up their management game. There are many specialties under this wide umbrella: executive, small business, startups, nonprofits, marketing, sales, and more. Depending upon your background and expertise, the possibilities are almost endless.
Why story matters in business coaching
Along with recognition, comes competition. We know there are a lot of great business coaches already on the market. Is there room for more? Absolutely. But you’ll need to know how to stand out from the crowd. People are drawn to authenticity, enthusiasm, emotion, experience, and excellence. Your personal story and professional connections are what will help to set you apart. Business clients want practical strategies and clear results. Demonstrate how you can deliver with stories. Speak both from your own experiences, and also describe (with permission) the transformations that you have facilitated for your clients.
Secure testimonials. Develop case studies. As you do, don’t be afraid to use your voice. It’s your unique perspective that clients are hiring for. Show them who you are. If you’re concerned about crossing the boundaries of personal and professional, consider these tips for navigating the line between transparency and TMI.
Growing: Productivity Coaching
Who needs a productivity coach when there are a bunch of apps available to help us all be more productive? The thing about productivity that most people miss is that it is tightly interwoven with deep focus. No matter how many tools you acquire, if you have difficulty focusing then none of them will transform your life.
A productivity coach understands the value of “planning the work, then working the plan”. If you are organized, know how to rock a task list, and are experienced in holding a team accountable to achieve exceptional results… this could be your sweet spot. Whether the client’s ambition is to run a marathon or launch a new business venture, your job is to make sure the client's goals, perspective, and habits are aligned. Then it’s time to hold them accountable (with love!) as they take tangible action steps toward achieving a specific objective.
Why story matters in productivity coaching
For many people, productivity coaching is viewed as a form of technical coaching, similar to business coaching. What’s important here is to look at this coaching niche in the lens most suitable for you. And if that means sharing your story of how productivity is your jam and helped improve your life, go for it. Often times it's less about tips and tricks and more about helping overwhelmed people make a plan for getting unstuck. Your own personal story plays a big role here, especially if you're a highly productive person who can help bring some strategy and order to those who need it most.
Want to explore more trending specialties? Check out our report: 20 Hottest Life Coaching Niches.
Ready for Your Next Step?
Coaching is a rapidly growing field that is continuously evolving. If you’ve not already earned your ICF coaching certification, there’s no better time than now to get started! Come check out our Life Coach Training - a program that's every bit as unique as you are. Grounded in science, our ICF accredited program features authentic instructors, a robust curriculum, business instruction to prepare you for liftoff as an entrepreneur, and fellow students dedicated to becoming a collective force for good.